Monday, June 10, 2013

Images from a Rodeo

   There's been a lot going on, so this post is a good deal later than it might have been.  [Note: one thing going on was show opening at Branigan Cultural Center this past Friday evening.  If you are looking for links to the site containing text and more photos from the journey around Perú, jump down to Peruvian Journey .]

   The NMSU Rodeo was Friday through Sunday, April 26-28, and I was wandering around with my camera whenever they were doing what they were doing.

   Photographically, I like what I got at the rodeo less than what I'd shot at practices all spring.  There's a crowd at the rodeo, but at the practice arena just the team, an occasional friend, and a couple of guys from the northern end of the state who were marooned down here installing some kind of cooler system, and often wandered out after work to watch.  (Unlike me, they actually knew a lot about the subject.)

   Crowds not only interfere with your freedom of motion, but they -- and a bunch of advertising banners and a football stadium -- can muck up the background.  The practice arena was smaller.  I could shoot from anywhere and be closer to the action.  Yeah, there were telephone poles and wires to excise from some of the images, but not ads for restaurants and automobile parts.

    Still, I went all three days, shot constantly, and stayed till the light gave out, and it was both fun and interesting.

The crowd added to the fun.  The rodeo clown, Justin Rumford, who'd recently won the award as the top PRCA rodeo clown in 2012, added to the fun.  In one of his routines, borrowing a cell-phone from someone in the crowd, then pretending to throw it away, he borrowed the phone from someone we knew; and another routine involved an NMSU rodeo cowboy I'd talked with at practices, in which they both stripped down to their shorts and compared physiques and dance moves.  The cowboy (named Paeden Underwood, I think) won the audience's vote, but Justin, though overweight, was clearly a very athletic gent.

    Anyway, we had fun.  It was probably the first rodeo I'd attended since I was an undergraduate here, but it won't be the last.  I'd recommend it to other folks around here who aren't necessarily conversant with all the rules.  Unlike most sports in this country, it developed, of course, from real work required of the vaqueros here in earlier centuries -- and still required of some young folks in New Mexico, though fewer than formerly.  It's both full of action and a bit of history.

    The event at NMSU was named the "Best Rodeo of the Year" on the circuit, for the ninth time in a row, and the men's team held on to the top spot in the region, while the women placed fourth.  I think the men's team may be in the top three nationally.

    The images below are from 26 April.  I'll add images from the second and third days later this week.  And images from practices are viewable at Riding and Roping, and Riding and Roping II, as well as Spring, a newspaper column.


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